Hydrocodone is a schedule II semi-synthetic opioid medication used to treat pain. Immediate-release (IR) hydrocodone is available as a combination product (combined with acetaminophen, ibuprofen, etc.) and is FDA approved for the management of pain severe enough to require an opioid analgesic and for which alternative (non-opioid) treatments are inadequate. Single-entity hydrocodone is only available in extended-release (ER) formulations. It is FDA approved to treat persistent pain severe enough to require 24-hour, long-term opioid treatment, and for which alternative treatments are inadequate. Hydrocodone is also an antitussive and indicated for cough in adults. In January 2018, the FDA required safety labeling changes for prescription cough and cold medicines containing hydrocodone or codeine to limit the use of these products to adults 18 years of age and older.
Hydrocodone is an opioid pain medication, sometimes called a narcotic. Acetaminophen is a less potent pain reliever that increases the effects of hydrocodone. Acetaminophen and hydrocodone is a combination medicine used to relieve moderate to severe pain. It is available as a prescription-only medicine and is used for back pain, pain, rheumatoid arthritis.
Patients initiating hydrocodone should undergo monitoring for pain relief, constipation, respiratory depression, and other adverse effects. The risk of respiratory depression is highest following the initiation of therapy or after an increase in dose. Patients should also undergo monitoring for signs of abuse, misuse, and addiction. Opioids have a narrow therapeutic index and wide variability in response between patients.